A money-obsessed husband stabbed his estranged wife to death after she refused to agree to his plans to split her £ 1 million fortune, a court heard today.
Ray Hoadley, 62, is charged with murdering 58-year-old Jackie Hoadley at her family home in Eastbourne, East Sussex, last summer.
Ms. Hoadley was found to have seven stab wounds on her face, strangulation and blunt force trauma to her face and chest.
She was found in her blood-soaked bed on July 5 and later pronounced dead by paramedics.
The couple were married for 28 years and have two severely disabled adopted children – Matthew, 16 and Ellie, 9 – who require constant care.
But prosecutors today announced to a jury that the relationship had broken down, citing a dispute over money as a motivation for Hoadley to kill his estranged wife.
Ray Hoadley, 62, accused of murdering 58-year-old Jackie Hoadley at her family home in Eastbourne, East Sussex last summer (couple with severely disabled adoptive children – Matthew, 16, and Ellie, nine)
The trial at Lewes Crown Court in Hove opened on the indictment, which described the dire nature of her death.
Ms. Hoadley was found dead in bed at 2 p.m. by carer Elizabeth Morley, who was looking after Ellie.
Mrs. Morley went upstairs and heard the alarm from Ellie’s unkempt feeding pump before she saw Jackie’s blood-soaked bed through her open door.
Paramedics pronounced them dead at 2:20 p.m., citing a severed artery and carotid artery as the cause of death
The Caroline Carberry QC prosecutor said, “She suffered catastrophic injuries.”
She added, “It is the case of the prosecution that she was murdered by her estranged husband, this defendant, Raymond Hoadley.”
Ellie’s supervisor, Elizabeth Morley, was the first to testify.
Hoadley arrives at Lewes Crown Court this week on trial for the murder of estranged wife Jackie Hoadley
On a desperate call to the police in court, the caretaker Ms. Morley can be heard say, “There’s blood everywhere,” while she cries hysterically.
She told the court, “I could see someone on the bed who I didn’t want to believe was Jackie but was obvious.
I knew I had to check on Ellie first, even though I could hear her. She screamed and raised her arms so I could lift her out of bed. She just wanted attention and be out of this environment.
She kept screaming for me while I was on the phone. I said I’ll get mom help. You have to stay seated. ‘
Ms. Morley added, “I just didn’t want to go into the room. But I had to. ‘
Police officer Leon Franco from the Sussex Police Department was the first officer to be involved in the serious incident with colleague PC Wilkinson.
The court was shown footage from their body-worn camera showing the couple walking up the stairs, entering Jackie’s bedroom, and lifting the blood-stained pillows above their heads before checking for a pulse.
Mr. Franco said, “I could see that there was a lot of blood. I believe there was rigor mortis. ‘
Mrs. Morley later took Ellie to the Royal Alexander Hospital in Brighton for an examination, but luckily she was unharmed.
When asked how she would describe the adoptive parents’ relationship, Ms. Morley said, “Very strong.”
And she said Hoadley had an “extraordinary relationship” with both children that included a special way of communicating with Ellie.
Ms. Morley, who cared for Ellie for more than six years after meeting the Hoadleys through church, told jurors that her adoptive daughter was legally blind and needed mobility aids.
She said of her one-on-one caring role, “It wasn’t like going to work. It was like going to a relative and spending time with them. I could work three or four months without taking any time off … it worked for all of us. ‘
Ms. Hoadley was found dead in the family home (above) in Eastbourne, East Sussex, in July
Ms. Morley said the Hoadley’s previously cared for son, Liam, died at the age of 13, although only five years were expected.
She remembered that Hoadley was upset in the kitchen after learning that Matthew was now at the end of his life too.
The caregiver was so close to the family that she was asked to be a witness and sign the financial agreement between the couple on June 21.
The couple adopted Matthew in 2007 and Ellie in 2014, both of whom had complex care needs that required 24-hour surveillance.
They had raised a disabled boy back in 2002 when Ms. Hoadley discovered she couldn’t have children of her own, but he died in 2008.
Hoadley left the family home after staying in a mental health clinic in Chichester, West Sussex, following an attempted overdose of Matthew’s strong pain reliever, Oromorph, in April.
After his release in May, he moved to an apartment building in Eastbourne and the court heard that the marriage had indeed ended.
Ms. Carberry said: “The marriage, which had been under some strain, had irreversibly collapsed and the couple was in the process of putting their property in order.”
She said Hoadley, described as a “thrifty person” who “was busy with money and wasted no food,” had drawn up a property-sharing contract “very shortly before his wife died.”
The court heard that Hoadley agreed that Ms. Hoadley could keep her £ 300,000 at home and had devised a plan to split up her nearly £ 1 million in savings stored in trusts and various bank accounts.
Ms. Carberry said, “Ray had a financial agreement but Jackie refused to sign it, causing him to lose his temper on the phone.
‘This shows his very real interest in the couple’s essential financial affairs.
“You may find that money has something to do with the motivation behind this murder.”
The court heard Ms. Hoadley told Ms. Morley that she and Ellie met Hoadley for breakfast at a local coffee shop on the morning of July 4, 2020.
She then went to see Matthew at 3pm at the Chailey Heritage Foundation for mentoring before returning home at 5:30 pm.
Dashcam images showed Jurors Hoadley’s signature silver Renault Master MPV van – the only one of its kind registered in the area – parked near the marriage house shortly after 11:20 p.m. later that evening.
CCTV from a neighboring property shows a figure near the house around 11.30 p.m., who leaves shortly before 1.30 a.m.
Ms. Carberry said, “It is the prosecution’s case that this defendant killed his wife, returned to his vehicle and drove off during that two-hour window.”
Cameras captured the van, which eight minutes later was parked in the Fisherman’s Green parking lot in the coastal town.
A figure gets out and jogs to the beach before driving off again.
Ms. Carberry told the court that a month later, yellow scissors were found among the pebbles of the fisherman McCormack, who had handed the suspected murder weapon over to the police.
Back at the family home, forensic teams found blood on the bedroom door, sink, towel, and stairs.
She said Police Officer Arthur noticed that there were missing slats in the back garden fence and that the trash can, which prosecutors said Hoadley might have used an open window to gain access to, had a footprint on the lid.
A drop of blood was also found on the soles of his black and red Karrimor sneakers when police ransacked his room, according to prosecutors.
The jury was told that Hannah Harris, who lived on the apartment building with Hoadley, found gray socks, a black sweater, jogger, and a handkerchief in the washer and dryer around 7 a.m. when Jackie was found dead.
Ms. Carberry said, “He [Hoadley] I washed the clothes he wore during his fatal attack on his wife, but his attempts to cover them up did not end there. ‘
She also told the court that Hoadley called his late wife’s cell phone six times the next morning and left three messages before calling 911 to say Ms. Hoadley and Eleanor had not shown up for a meeting in the city center.
The process continues.